Thursday, 28 December 2006

Jimmy Chung's Doesn't Serve Seagulls!

Jimmy Chung's Does NOT Serve Seagulls!

When I came back up to Dundee I heard the bizare rumour that the Scottish Chinese buffet chain, Jimmy Chung's, had been closed down in Dundee for serving seagull instead of chicken.

At first I believed it and talked about it to other people, some of whom hadn't heard the rumour before. I nearly texted Wendy as soon as I heard to tell her about it.

However, a few more level headed people pointed out it was probably a load of rubbish. Would seem they are correct - it's just an Internet gossip fueled load of nonsense. Sounds like they just closed for a week and someone has taken it upon themselves to start this rumour. Sadly, it seems to have badly affected their takings. Seems really wrong that their business can be ruined by numpties like me believing ridiculous rumours.

I hope that the power of this blog puts it at the top of an Google search for "Jimmy Chung's Seagull" and I can help put the rumour down. I walked past last night and it was deserted. Maybe if you see any of this seagull nonsense posted elsewhere you could put a link to this post (use the permalink) or to the Daily Record story. Maybe leave a comment (below) to acknowledge your support for the restaurant.

However, I did eat next door in Papa Joes, which was fine, then went drinking in several West end pubs, then off dancing in Fat Sams. While I was in the queue for Fatties, blethering to anyone who would listen, some girls told me that my clothing "style" (in particular the scarf, leather gloves and sexy, sexy shoes) made me look like a "pretentious, English metrosexual". I think saying I look English was a bit of a cheap shot, and has left me feeling quite low. However, they also gave me two compliments so that's nice! ;)

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

which shoes?


which shoes?
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Hmmm


UPDATE: Some time later... So the problem here was that I was in the shoe shop and I couldn't decide between these two pairs of boots. Being the techno-geek that I am, I thought I would send a picture to my blog, then get someone to look online and help me decide. Well the first bit worked - I just couldn't find anyone to look at the picture.... except Dad who thought the ones on the left were best. Phone calls to Wendy, Da Jingster and Julie were of no help. I actually had to get Andy and Phil to come to the shop to help me choose. Anyway, I went for the ones on the right. I think I preferred the other ones but they didn't fit quite as well.

Genius Irn Bru Snowman Advert

What Christmas is complete without watching the Snowman? Or at least briefly hearing it and remembering the time you did bother watching it years ago.

Well, good old Irn Bru have taken it and "adapted" the classic "Walking through the Air" song from the animation and turned it into an advert. Genius! Unfortunately Irn Bru adverts are rarely shown in England so here it is for your viewing pleasure on YouTube:



There's loads of funny Scottish adverts that you don't get to see in England, such as the Tennants ones. I'll maybe post them up some time.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

A Gentleman's Wardrode Expanded

Got up early today and to hit the sales shopping and got in to town for 9.30am. It was pretty quiet at first but we didn't realise that the Next sale had already started so by the time we got there, there was only dust and empty sweetie wrappers left.

Still, I managed to spend a whole whack of money and got 3 pairs of work trousers, two shirts for work and a tie, a whole bunch of Carhartt stuff (cords, jumper, t-shirt; look at their website - I had no idea they made protective gear - must be like CAT starting to make shoes, then making plant machinery!), a Bench jumper a casual shirt a t-shirt and a few bits and bobs.

Andrew managed to spend much more money than he intended but got a pretty nice YSL suit and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Need to go back in tomorrow to buy some boots. Go cowboy!

Now I'm about to go oot with Andy and his friends. Tomorrow heading out with Kev et al.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Merry Christmas!

Being the sad little Blogger that I am, I thought I should pop onto the computer to blog a very Merry Christmas to everyone.

I've just had my Christmas dinner so am feeling very full. Went to church last night with the family where my singing of the hymns was very impressive as usual.

Time for the Boxing Day sales chaos tomorrow!

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Flying home for Christmas

Yesterday's journey home from Oxford to Dundee was remarkably straightforward.

Left the flat at about 4pm, got a bus and caught the 4.36pm train to Birmingham International. The train was packed but I managed to get a seat and the train was only about 15min late. I was sitting next to a bunch of soldiers who couldn't appreciate the problem that some paying customers might have with standing, when their kits bags are taking up two seats.

Got to the airport and had a BK for dinner. The queue to get through security was huge - took about 1h to get through. Loads of flights were being canceled, including some from Birmingham to Edinburgh. I don't see why British Midland couldn't fly to Edinburgh but their cheapo version, BMI Baby could!

Anyway, got onto the flight only a few minutes late. Easy flight up to Scotland, where Dad, for various reasons, had been waiting at the airport for about...3-4 hours. Nice drive home and I got in at about 11pm.

Total journey time, approximately 7h. Yes it still takes ages, but it was fairly straightforward. I feel sorry for all the people who have had their flights cancelled and miss family gatherings etc.

Fingers crossed for Miguel flying from Heathrow to Schiphol today!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

What a bore!


Sorry, I mean - What a boar!

Went into the Covered Market today and saw this fine beast hanging from a hook outside the butcher's.

This butcher's is fantastic. Real old style. None of the sanitised "pretend your meat wasn't once alive" crap. The meat there looks like it could almost get up and walk away. If it wasn't hanging from a hook. Or headless and legless like lots of them are.

I'd like to see what the Animal Activist tubes would make of it. There's a lot of kids these days that don't really appreciate that meat comes from animals. The same kids that don't realise milk comes from cows. Would probably be good to show them a butcher's like this.

That said, I really wouldn't know how to prepare meat like that. I'll just stick to the rubbish from the supermarkets for now.

Misty me

Last night's ride home from work was one of the scariest ever.

Set off at about 8.30pm. Took the turning onto the A4074 and quickly found that because of the thick mist I could see about 10 yards ahead of me. I decided just to stay behind the one car in front and follow its rear lights seing as I couldn't really tell where the road was.

Then I got onto the A40 after the Headington Roundabout and it was all the same. I couldn't see a thing! I was bricking it that someone would just drive straight into the back of me. Before I set off I actually decided to put my rucksack under the bungee on my back seat, just so that the reflective strips on my Derrick day-glo vest would be seen from behind. Made me feel slightly safer.

Added to that, the mist was misting up the outside of my visor every few second further reducing visibility. I was wondering why my hands seemed so slippy, then I realised it was freezing fog. Hurrah! I was covered in a layer of frost!

I see it is just as misty this morning. Let's see how I get on...

UPDATE 0928h: Well that went even worse than expected. Tried to turn the key in the ignition: frozen solid. Spend ages spraying WD40 which does nothing. Eventually go for the old "heat up the keys with a match" trick, which actually eventually works! So then I try to start the bike, but no luck. Pretty quickly the battery runs down. So I think I will just bump start it again. Oops - the clutch cable is frozen solid. Dumbass here tries to just keep pulling it in figuring the ice will give up its hold soon. Maybe it would have, but not before the clutch cable gave up and snapped!

So now I have a day off...

UPDATE 2: Well, special thanks to Kate for going to pick up my replacement cable for me and braving the treacherous driving conditions out there. The price for my day off (and a new clutch cable) was £18.70! Grrrr!

Sunday, 17 December 2006

A Gentleman's Wardrobe

Tonight I did an audit of my wardrobe to try and get rid of some of the old clothes I had been hoarding. It's difficult to know what to get rid of. I have clothes that I don't wear, but figure might be useful at some time. I've also got clothes that I wear regularly that I don't really like. What I don't have is lots of money to buy new clothes, but at least there is now room for them in the cupboard.

Here are the clothes I am left with. I probably have about three times as many clothes as Wendy but I still feel like my cupboard is a bit bare:

Jeans - 5 pairs
Cords - 1 Pair
FC linen trousers - 1 Pair
Work trousers - 4 pairs. 2 pairs are looking pretty tatty and need replaced.
Tracksuit trousers - 1 pair
Jumpers - 3? The big black one that makes me look like I have breasts, the golden one that I like and the one Fraser got me for Xmas last year. Big cream jumper was ditched because Alex told me I looked ill when I wore it.
Thinnish jumpers - 3 - mostly for wearing when riding the motorbike to work.
Work shirts - 6 I think, although all but 1 are a bit crappy now and need replaced.
1 SRU Training top
1 SRU Rugby Top
1 Hong Kong 7s Rugby Top
1 Hope & Glory Suit Jacket type thing.
2 Black zip up jumpers (...alright - cardigans!)
Casual shirts - 3
Suit - 1
T-shirts - 15 ( I ditched 9)
Gym grade t-shirts (who doesn't grade, then occasionally demote, their t-shirts?) - 8
Shorts - 5
Climbing top - 1
Leather Jacket
Big Black Jacket
North Face water proof jacket
M/C Jacket and trousers
Kilt plus Bonnie Prince Charlie gear
Old Ski Fleece
Old Ski Jacket
Old Ski Trousers
Fleece Jacket
Very Old Tracksuit style jacket that I love.

So the key questions are - are 5 pairs of jeans enough? 15 T-shirts - could do with more new ones? 3 casual shirts - deffo need new ones!

I will be hitting the Boxing Day sales with Andrew at about 10am! Mwahahaha!

I threw out loads of clothes tonight. Wendy insisted on opening the Champagne. I am feeling it now....

Friday, 15 December 2006

Hot stuff

It's wrong to laugh at people for being odd.

However, in this case I'll make an exception:

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

How do fruit flies process lipids?




As a young child, I used to wonder to myself whether the humble fruit fly had a liver.

Unfortunately nobody could answer my childish question.

That was until I met Keno, who embarked upon a mission to find out.

One PhD later, and Keno has published his finding in Nature! Congratulations Keno!

Now I know that the fruit fly does indeed have lipid processing cells. I thought as much!

Monday, 11 December 2006

Birthday fun! Club Escape - Oxford

Birthday fun this weekend:

Best part was the meal at Zizzi, where the highlight was the impressive 'wall of sound' rendition of "Happy Birthday". The food was great - one of the best meals out I've had for a while.

Before and after the meal we went for drinks at Copa. It's a decent bar considering it's in the city centre and it serves some nice (but pricey) beers. They could do with cleaning some of the seats upstairs though.

For dancing we went to Escape. I like this venue and the music is good. The place was absolutely packed. What was a bit distracting was the simmering undercurrent of violence. Yes, that always reduces the fun somewhat: Bouncers full of arsey attitude, obnoxious girl with reserved section for her birthday, Kazakhstani gangsters and drunk howling banshee women on the dance floor.

Still the shisha was good and we all had fun.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Work Xmas do!

Last night's work Xmas dinner is best summarised by saying that wearking a kilt totally rocks! I love being Scottish!

Woot!

I also got to sing the proper karaoke version of the Elephant Love Song medley, which earned me a bottle of bubbly!

However, I did feel slightly ill for most of the night (starting before drinks were served!) which did somewhat detract from the fun.

Never mind, tonight we are going oot for my birthday so we can make up for it big style.

I await a photo from someone to attach to this post...

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Rookie mistake

Okay, this video isn't actually very funny, but it's exactly the same rookie mistake that I made when I first tried to pole dance. I can't believe I'm even saying that...




Re: The comments problems: I still don't know what's wrong! I received one comment tonight (Miguel) but it's not displaying yet!

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Karaoke practice

I found a really cool online karaoke machine where you can practice your songs before the big night. The choice of songs there is not huge, but, yes, there are some Sinatra songs!

Here's another one, where you can sing one of the best songs around - the theme tune to CBeebies Balamory! (What's the Story) In Balamory?

I'm also pleased to announce that, thanks to theShaggyDA, I have 'acquired' a mp3 file of the karaoke version of the Elephant Love Song Medley! Yah! My audience will not be disappointed! I've tried to practice it, but I'm just going to hope the karaoke machine on Friday has a good key changer because it's a couple of octaves too high for me.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Prague Photos


Prague Castle
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
I've put all of Wendy's and my photos onto Flickr, which you can view here.

Highlights include:
Lastly here is the panoramic picture I made of Prague Old Square (note: the file is 2.5MB, so I hosted it at yourfilehost.com, which does also host some "adult" material, so it might be blocked if you try to look at work. The actual link to my pic is fairly clean so don't worry about clicking on the link).

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Birthday weekend fun to come

It's my birthday on the 9th of December so I will attempt to have some kind of going out for food then drinks-type thing.

Open invite to people I know. Lisa and Foxy still not welcome.

Email me if you fancy it...

I apologise in advance to all the people I will offend when I have had one or two too many drinks... Ahem, me looks guiltily around...

blogger comments problems

Since I updated the blog to Blogger beta I have had a few problems with comments. Before, comments would appear more or less instantly. Now they take ages to appear and apparently people sometimes get error messages. Sometimes I will get the email telling me a comment has been posted and I can see there is a comment in my Dashboard but when I go to the post there is nothing there.

For example on this post I know that someone left a comment but it won't appear.

Is this something to do with me having an FTP blog and not hosting on blogger.com? The reason I host my own site is that I want to keep using my own domain name. I suppose the alternative is to make my domain name point at my blogger site but have the actual site hosted by blogger.

I believe there are a number of other new features of blogger I am missing by hosting my own site.

Can anyone confirm this or offer any advice. If so, please, ummmm, leave a comment.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Big Brother is listening to you now

I've just finished reading the George Orwell book 1984. I decided I need to start reading some "must-read" novels, so have started with this one. Harry Potter is entertaining, but it doesn't really broaden the mind.

I don't think I read it before but I do have a memory of an English class at school where we watched the version of the movie, which was made in 1984. I'm not sure why we would watch the movie but not read the book. It must have been one of those 'last day of term' things. I remember there was nudity in it which wasn't the sort of thing you expected to see in a film your teacher has put on. I also remembered something about rats...

Orwell is very prophetic in some ways. Particularly in the way that CCTV surrounds us all the time now, forever 'observing' our actions. If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear, right? Hmmm...

Amusingly, seeing as I have just finished reading the book, I noticed this story on the BBC. The police intend to use 'eavesdropping' microphones to pick up crowd conversations at the London Olympics. I actually don't mind the use of CCTV, but this is going too far! Sounds like an idea straight from the Thought Police!

I actually slept quite badly in Prague. Every night my dreams were full of "thoughtcrimes" and "newspeak"! Creepy!

I wonder how many people in the UK actually realise that "Big Brother" comes from this book, and was not dreamed up just by some Dutch TV producers to satisfy the TV habits of simpletons worldwide? Would be interesting to actually survey that

Sushi and poles


Wendy and I went round to Miguel's last night where Jing surpassed herself and made some stunning Sushi. I've never tried sushi before (other than nicking some of Wendy's when she buys it from M&S) but I'm glad to say I really liked it. Thanks Jing! :) I also liked the "Wasabi" experience.

I brought some Czech absinthe along and 'encouraged' everyone to try some. It's 72% proof apparently! I'm not sure you'd be able to buy it that strong in the UK, which is just as well as it tasted foul. I've had one of the worst hangovers in a long time today and got out of bed at about 5.30pm today!

We also returned to Bar Baby, where I tried to make amends for my earlier pole dancing mistakes. This time Wendy and Jing got in on the act. Interesting you you kind of assume that the girls will be great at pole dancing... just because they're girls. In reality, unless they are professional pole dancers (Wendy is not, Jing I didn't ask) they won't really have seen it performed at, ummm, close range, so won't really know how they do it. Therefore you can tell who has been to the most pole dancing shows by how good their own attempts are:

I wasn't too bad, Miguel was not too shabby either, however, without a doubt the "star of the pole" was Richard. Amazing poise! Where did he learn those moves? A sign of a mis-spent youth methinks. He should get a regular slot there.

Fortunately, neither of the stalkers, Lisa and Foxy, were anywhere to be seen last night. If they do ever have the nerve to show up, I know one little person that will kung-fu their asses for sure!

Saturday, 25 November 2006

gloves


gloves
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Behold the gloves of good!

ski stuff


ski stuff
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
We're sitting in Prague airport right now waiting for the flight home. Today i bought salomon ski boots, ski pants and TWO pairs of ski gloves. One pair is a really cool pair of sheepskin lined leather mitts which reminded me of a pair dad has/had that he lent me when i did my paper round in a snow storm. Now that i an leaving Prague i must make a point of finding out who this Franz Kafka dude was. Picture is of a strange sight we say when leaving the hotel this morning.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Kutná Hora


Kutná Hora
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Today we took a train trip to Kutná Hora. First, we took a really dodgy route to the train station via a junkie. The guide book says the town could once have rivaled Prague. What it doesn't mention is that it is now a bit rubbish. The is a very impressive cathedral, and a few things to see, but in general the town is quite depressing. I suppose it is more real Czech than disney world Prague. Had a nice neck in Pivnice Dacický, a bohemian adds hall in the town. The best thing to see was the Sedlec Ossuray, which is the church with the bone sculptures. See the photo on previous post. Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman went there at the start of The Long Way Round so we had to visit it. Tonight we went for an Italian meal. We have had enough dumplings for one holiday! Also discovered that astronomical clock doesn't do the fancy show at night! Tomorrow we reluctantly fly home but all is not lost as we are going to Miguel's where Jing will be making sushi.

bones


bones
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
I see dead people. About 40,000 of them!

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Prague castle, U Prince & Vivaldi

Today we visited Prague castle. Apparently the largest castle complex in the world. Very impressive but not very castle-like. Big cathedral and palace. Saw changing of guard twice. Wendy and i shot crossbows. I was the best! Wendy was merely okay. Tonight we ate at the U Prince Hotel. On 6th floor terrace had they of old square and castle. Was amazing and food was great too. Thanks Louise and JJ for recommendation. Then we got all cultured and went to see the Vivaldi Orchestra Praga at the Municipal House. They played some Händel and Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Very impressive. Then we went to a bar and loads of beer for about GBP2.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Mucho mucha


Mucho mucha
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Walked round prague today. It is really small. Saw old square. Very nice. Saw astronomical clock. Very astronomical. Went to lots of shops. Hmm great. Went to Mucha museum. Was very good actually. Nice posters. Tonight we went to Klub Architejtu for dinner. Very nice caverns. Good food. Need to book though. Then went to bar. Wendy is insane. Must add - duvet on beds is odd.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

arrived in prague


arrived in prague
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Arrived in prague okay. Hotel is nice and well situated for old town. Weather is rain but i forgot to take umbrella out tonight. It is so cheap here! Public transport 75p from airport to town. Three course meal for two GBP14. Half litre beer and got chocolate GBP1.50. Had dinner in Kavárna Slavia, famous prague cafe. Goulash was good. Then went to U Zlatého Tygra bar. Bit too real czech for us. Not one girl there! Went to other small bar it was nicer.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Prague here we come

Wendy and I are off to Prague tomorrow. I was expecting it to be really cold, but looking at the Prague weather forecast, it isn't really much colder than Oxford. In fact Dundee is much colder!

Now that I've got this mobile blogging thing sorted, I'll try and take some pics on my camera and post them straight to here from Prague. I'll try and send one pic each day as long as it isn't too expensive (must phone O2 to check that now...).

So far we have had two recommendations to eat at U Prince hotel, so that is definitely on the cards.

Well, as they say in the Czech Republic: "Měla babka v kapse brabce, brabec babce v kapse píp. Zmáčkla babka brabce v kapse, brabec babce v kapse chcíp!" Lol! That one always cracks me up. Those crazy Czechs!

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Zodiac and cinema



Jo was back in town this weekend so we went oot down the Cowley Road.

First stop - Kas Bar - too busy so we're straight out of there and into the Jamiacan place, Hi-Lo. It's less "Tropical Lilt Advert-style Jamaican Love" and more "I will tolerate your presence here because you pay us money".

Next stop was Bar Baby. This place has a pole for pole dancing. I had a go, and learnt why women have evolved to have their reproductive organs inside their body - it's so they can pole dance without sustaining the sort of injury I got why I jumped at the thing with my legs open, thinking I would spin round looking all erotic-like. Women have evolved to pole dance! God works in mysterious ways. I wonder if I can get this theory published in JMCP (The Journal of Male Chauvanist Pigs)? Do firemen have reduced fertility rates?

Then, like all good nights, it was off to The Zodiac. Incidentally, the Zodiac has recently been sold to the Academy Music Group. I hope this is a positive thing. The comments on that link seem quite unhappy with it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

We went to see two movies at the cinema this weekend. First, in the comically small screen at Magdalen Street Odeon (honestly - I think my TV at home might be bigger than that screen) we saw, Starter for Ten which was a pretty good story. Ooh, who will he choose? The gorgeous, but slightly shallow blond, or the down to earth and I suppose attractive in her own way, brunnette?

Then today in the George Street Odeon (still quite small) we saw The Prestige, which was a really good movie. Loads of great twists, some seem a bit obvious, but they all deceive you from the last one (kind of). Definitely recommended!

I may go to see Casino Royale some time soon.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Karaoke Inspiration

My work Xmas do is in a few weeks and part of the entertainment is Karaoke.

I did a karaoke chinese meal night for my London leaving do and it was great fun.

I now just need some inspiration for what songs to sing at the work do. I know there are song songs I like singing but I can never remember what they are. I don't think I'm a great singer but it sounds okay in my head. I have a bit of a limited key range too. No high bits please! I was a bit of a singer when I was a youngster and used to always go in for the Dundee Leng Medal. I never actually won, but in P7 I was sooo close to winning that the judges made a point of letting me know I was second (usually they just announce the winner). Gutted! I'll never forgive you Heather! (just joking!!) My song was called "The Work o' the Weavers".

So far I will have to do the "Elephant Love Song Medley" from Moulin Rouge - both Ewan McGregor's and Nicole Kidman's parts. I might also try "Mr Boombastic" (Even though I only know the chorus). Maybe "Easy like Sunday Morning". What else should I try? Leave a comment to inspire me!

We also need a suitable group song for our department so any suggestions would be very welcome. I was thinking "Hey Hey We're the Monkees". Jo?

Friday, 17 November 2006

Steve vs lovefilm.co.uk

Result: Score draw!

I thought I would win this one, but lovefilm (formerly screenselect) offered me a fair compromise so I accepted it.

The end result is that I pay for 1 month's subscription - the October WOAH *realisation* I was about to mention how I was going to get 3 months subscription free but I just realised they have tricked me again and all I get is 1.5 month free subscription.

They really are a bunch of shysters! These "free subscriptions" are really just a way for them to get hold of your credit card, so that when you forget to cancel it, they can charge you the full subscription. In this case I didn't forget to cancel it - I cancelled it and they decided to keep sending me DVDs anyway and charge me for the privilege.

To put it simply, my free sub was due to expire on 4th October, so on 2nd October I cancelled it and sent my last DVD back. Despite cancelling the account on the 2nd, when they received my returned DVD on the 3rd they sent me another DVD. Apparently they had already processed my account so they couldn't prevent the next DVD being sent. As I was sent another DVD, there was no way I could return it before the 4th, so I got charged for a full subscription. Does that stink of a con to anyone else?

So I took this as an opportunity to complain. However, these guys weren't budging. Even when I worked out the reason they were charging me was because I had sent back the "extra" DVD after the account had been cancelled. Seriously, trying to get these guys to admit they are in the wrong and credit me my money is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

After lots of complaint emails, the eventually offered me 3months free for paying for the unintentional 1 month. What I've just realised as I typed this is that they count from when I paid that amount till now as included in the "free" extra sub time. All that time I was in dispute with them so wasn't using it! Cheeky ba$tards!

So now I have "accepted" their offer I probably can't get back to complaining, so I will just have to watch some DVDs for a month and a half.

Well here is my final "complaint" email for posterity. Feel my wrath!

Hi,

I have worked out exactly what your mistake is now.

I cancelled the account on the 2nd and sent the DVD (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) back that day which was received on the 3rd. As the billing date was the 4th that should have been enough to close the account. As I had cancelled the account I should not have been sent any more DVDs. Please note I received the "cancellation pending email" on the 2nd stating I just had to return this DVD for the account to be closed (this email was forwarded to you recently).

Despite cancelling the account and sending back "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" I was still sent another DVD on the 3rd which I received on the 4th (I think it was "Ray"). You state that I have been charged because I sent my final DVD back which was received on the 11th, which was after the billing date of the 4th. However you are charging me in relation to a DVD that was sent AFTER I had cancelled the account. I should NOT have been sent this DVD so I should NOT be charged on the basis of its late return. As I was not expecting to receive this last DVD (having cancelled the account) I was not available to return it immediately, hence you have only received it back on the 11th.

I trust the situation has been fully explained to you now. You cannot charge me a subscription on the basis of a DVD that was sent to me in error AFTER I had cancelled the free trial.

Please credit me as soon as possible.

Thanks

-Steven

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Blogger Beta archives don't work

I recently switched to Blogger Beta and now none of my archives work anymore. The help for Blogger says to republish the blog. As it is nearly impossible to republish in Beta, I went to "Archives" saved my changes without making any changes, and was then given the option to republish. However, the archives still don't work.

Anyone got a fix?

Boxing and Bears

Awww look at the cute Panda Bears!



I tried going to boxing training at Oxford Uni for a few weeks. One of the things I was particuarly useless at was Skipping. This guy is a tad bit better than I was:

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Mitchell and Webb in Oxford


We went to see Mitchell and Webb, stars of "Peep Show", at the New Theatre in Oxford tonight.

Was it good? Yeah it was quite good. "Yeah" said in that kind of high pitched yeah way. I wasn't ROFLMAO but I did occasionally LOL.

I was kind of expecting stand-up, but it was all scripted sketches.

My favourite sketch was the Nazis sketch. "Do you think we're baddies? We've got skulls on our hats.."

The Mime was funny, as was "Big Talk". Some bits were less so. As I overheard some amateur pundit mention as he walked past the bus stop, "The fat one (Mitchell or Webb) is funnier, he's got..." then he walked out of earshot.

The picture is of the stage curtain which had a big picture of Mitchell and Webb. I would have taken a picture of them on stage, but apparently that would have been a 'sad' thing to do. But then who am I to say what 'sad' is? I've come home from a comedy gig and come straight onto the computer to blog about it. Wendy is in bed, and here I am on the computer. I rock.

To be fair I wanted to take a picture of them and actually blog it from my mobile phone in the theatre. This is comparatively quite cool.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

mobile blogging


mobile blogging
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Testing to see if i can blog photos from my phone

Partying Summertown Styleee


Jing, Miguel and a couple of Wendy's friend's came round last night for dinner and drinks.

I made Hunter's Chicken with Kailkenny (mash with cabbage and cream), both from my 'Scottish' cook book. I'm not really sure what is particularly Scottish about Hunter's chicken but it tasted pretty good!

We then went along to the Summertown Wine Cafe, which to Miguel's disappointment didn't serve any Bacardi. Nor did they serve cheese after 10pm. What they were happy to serve was fairly expensive wine. Still it was nice wine and I felt a bit so-fish-tika-ed.

Apparently the ladies toilets at the Wine Cafe are highly thought of. I can't comment on the gents because I was slightly drunk and my memory is a bit hazy. Maybe I didn't go...

After we'd rocked Summertown big-style, we headed into town (minus Wendy and her friends) to go to 'Maxwell's' nightclub. Hmmm, this place was a bit dodgy. Definitely near the bottom of my Oxford recommendations. Kind of like an American diner as a nightclub.

However, despite the dodgy club, my dancing was still spot-on. I drew a few admiring glances with my 'skipping dance' but decided to stop when I realised I looked like a complete moron skipping round a nightclub. Actually I have no idea when or why I stopped...

I got the nightbus home but, ummm, forgot to get off at my stop so had to walk back a bit. Reminded me of the days of the nightbus to Wembley when I'd wake up in Stanmore.

Today - hangover. After a while Wendy and I went into Oxford to meet Jing and Miguel for lunch at the Old Tom.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

World Wide Webcams

It's a fairly old trick now, but if you use some particular Google queries you can get access to hundreds of unsecured webcams that are used as security cameras.

The query is: inurl:"ViewerFrame?Mode="

There are a few other queries you can use to find the webcams. One of the first places to mention this 'hack' was graffe.com, but it is also mentioned on theregister.co.uk and boingboing.net. Apparently you can also control people's printers with the correct queries. Dodgy stuff indeed!

Here is a site that has collected a whole bunch of these webcams in one place.


Here is a webcam
(intentionally public) from the city centre in my home town, Dundee.

Finally here is a pretty good one of an African waterhole, where you can see antelopes, zebra etc.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

BlockBuster and Screenselect (now LoveFilm)

I thought I would be clever and take the free trials to both these websites and get two months worth of DVDs.

Unfortunately both of them have decided to charge me for a months subscription even though I cancelled my free trial in time. Ba$tards!

However every cloud has a silver lining. This gives me a chance to test my complaining skills! I have exchanged many emails with both of them so far and I think I will win one fight and lose the other.

Other things to complain about are trains. I got on the train at Oxford to travel to London on Sunday. Then I sat on the train for half an hour in the station. The train was packed but I got a seat at least. Then they said they didn't know when the train would be able to leave. So after half an hour waiting I went to catch the Oxford Express to London. I should have just trusted the bus in the first place. How crap can the British trains be to just cancel and entire train after leaving you on it for 30min. Idiots!

Let the train tale the strain. Let the train take my arse, the bunch of useless morons. Wouldn't happen in Switzerland.

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SKI HOLIDAY!

We've booked our ski holiday for Feb next year. We will be staying in Chalet Martin near Gryon. Can't wait. I know nothing about the ski area or anything like that yet. It's been two or three years since I last went ski-ing so I am really mising it. Hopefully I am not too rubbish now. Wendy will be ski-ing for the first time so hopefully she enjoys it.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Pumpkin time


Tonight we went on the scary ghost walk which started and ended with a few drinks at the famous White Horse pub in Broad Street.

I carved a pumpkin which seemed to be very popular with the German tour guide who wanted many photos taken of it. I'm glad everyone seemed to like it.

I can't take full artistic credit for the design as I got it from Pumpkin Masters, although I took their smiley ghost and made him slightly less jolly. I might seriously consider getting one of their pumpkin template books next year and attempting something grand. Alternatively, I could go extreme! I need some artistic outlet and I think it is pumpkin carving!

I think my last attempt was a little more sinister looking.

Photo of pumpkin taken by Jing. That's JING! Jing took the photo!



Photo courtesy of Jing ©2006

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Dodgy knees



I got a guy at work who is a former consultant orthapaedic surgeon to have a look at my knee, which I hurt while climbing earlier this year.

He gave my knee a pretty good exam, then told me he thinks the reason I have grown an "extra knee" is due to scar tissue. When I fell I must have had a slight haemorage in the soft tissue below the patella tendon, and after the swelling some scar tissue has formed. Because my tendon is now pushed in a funny position by the scar tissue, I now get pain in my knee when I walk. Apparently the scar tissue will go eventually, but until then there's nothing I can really do about it. It's not really serious and mean smy knee isn't really that buggered up so I can still ski next year. Yah!

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Went to an Oxjam gig tonight at the Zodiac. Was all in aid of Oxfam. The acts were quite decent but it probably could have done with more people in the crowd. Still, well done to Clare for organising it!

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The pumpkin crop is quite bad this year, but I will still endeavor to carve a nice pumpkin for tuesday's ghost walk. Pic is of my attempt two years ago.

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Lastly, we have a new shower! After a year of using one of those useless "stick it on the taps" things, we have had a proper shower fitted. Water pressure very high hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Webcam


I've been using the webcam via MSN Messenger recently to keep in touch with my family. The picture is of a typical conversation I had with Andrew, Fraser and Julie. When the photo was take, Andrew was just in the middle of making a very interesting point about the Bank of England and its control over the UK interest rates.

What do you call a pelican with a pigeon in its mouth?


Hungry!

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Yes! I German talk!

I admit to using a combination of my Oxford German dictionary and Babelfish to help me with my German writing. This is how Babelfish translates my previous post in German:

I learn German! I began my German lessons. They are simple a little, but forget I have many vocabulary and grammar. Once per week, I want to write a little German here. Please my German improves into the remark part!


I sound like Borat. Yessssss!

Ich lerne Deutsch!

Ich habe meine deutschen Lektionen mit Oxford University angefangen.

Sie sind ein bisschen einfach, aber ich have viele Wortschatz und Grammatik vergessen. Einmal pro Woche, ich will hier ein bisschen Deutsch schreiben.

Bitte verbessern meine Deutsche in die Bemerkungteil!

Saturday, 21 October 2006

Go to Dundee, Do not pass Go, Do not collect £200.

The idiots at Hasbro though it would be fun to replace "Go to Jail" on the Aberdeen version of the game, with "Go To Dundee". Unsurprisingly, it caused an uproar in Dundee and they have dropped the plan. Maybe they're not so stupid though. Everybody in Aberdeen and Dundee must now now that an Aberdeen version of the game is coming out. That's the sort of advertising you can't pay for. Cynical marketing ploy perhaps?

Apparently the Dundee version is planned for 2009. Just enough time for everyone to forget about this story, then Hasbro can get similar exposure when they reveal the Dundee version will tell us to "Go to Fife"...

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Swedish versus British nightclubs. Can you tell the difference?

Warning! Link safe for work unless you are offended by ugly girls. Also do not open if you are offended by beautiful girls.


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Lastly, here's a song:

The Feeling - Never Be Lonely

Thursday, 19 October 2006

3D Photos

How cool is this?! They take 2D photos and the computer can turn it into a 3D image!

Friday, 13 October 2006

Feed the sloth

Good vs Evil

David vs Goliath

Transformers vs Decepticons

Allies vs Axis

Ninjas vs Pirates

Tonight I fought a battle of my own: my hunger vs my laziness. Would I be so lazy that I would not cook anything to eat or would my hunger force me to eat something?

To give me a hint to the battle ahead I did a Googlefight for hungry vs lazy. It was an impressively close fight, with hungry just winning 64,100,000 to lazy's 63,500,000.

What the website couldn't take into account was the fact that I had quite a big lunch. So laziness won the real fight.

In the end I had to eat something though. So, tonight's tea was: two slices of cheese, three slices of bread with honey and one slice of bread with raspberry jam.

Unfortunately, I dropped the jam sandwich on my jumper and I have no jam or honey left for breakfast. Hmmm...


The Swiss Miss is here this weekend so I will be heading down to London tomorrow to see her and Rina and Keno et al.

Thursday, 12 October 2006

Gym attendance

I've not been very good with the gym attendance over the past few weeks.

First I was ill for about a week, then I only managed to make it once last week. I was away with work Monday and Tuesday this week, then I slept in on Wednesday so didn't have time to pack my gym kit (I go during my lunch break). I didn't go today because I thought I would go tomorrow (I usually go Mon, Wed, Fri), but I am now going out for lunch tomorrow.

Next week I shall start afresh! I have been making decent progress with the weights so it would be a shame to waste it.

Now to help matters I am about to go to Freuds in Jericho, then Ocean & Collins. With Ocean & Collins I have to decide whether I am in the "love it" camp (Miguel & Jing) or the "hate it" camp (Just about everyone else I know including Wendy & Jo).

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Happy Birthday Wendy!



Happy Birthday to my beautiful girlfriend!

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Paulo Nutini Gig @ Zodiac, Oxford




Went to see Paulo Nutini at the Zodiac, Oxford tonight. Was a bit of a rush to get there and in the end I had to go by motorbike and meet Wendy there. I was worried I might be late for him, but no worries - I arrived after the second support band and Paulo took ages to get on the stage - people were starting to boo!

If you don't know his name, you might have heard the song "Jenny don't be hasty". Oh Jenny don't be hasty. That pie you made was rather tasty..." You can listen to his songs on his MySpace page. "Jenny..." has had nearly 200,000 listens!

The lad's nineteen and is from Paisley. He really needs to work on his stage presence. First off he's humfy backet. He should straigten up or he'll be stooped over the rest of his life. Then he sings most of his songs facing sideways to the crowd.

Worst though is his voice. I don't know many people from Paisely but they can't all sound that bad. I don't think it's his accent, it's just the way he speaks. I've never heard someone mumble so badly.

So, Paulo mate, if you read this - no one in the crowd has a clue what you are saying when you "attempt" to speak to the crowd. They're not talking back to you - they're saying things like "Eh? What? Pardon? Wtf?"

He looked a bit glaikit to be honest. Maybe he was wasted.

Anyway, he was pretty good. Has a "distinctive" voice. Kinda croakey. I only really knew the "Jenny" song, but there some other decent ones in there. Actually 2 of the songs have more listens than "Jenny" so maybe they are famous too.

Ok, I did have a couple of rubbish pics from my phone but for some reason they won't upload. Damn Blogger, grrrr...

Sunday, 8 October 2006

I want a free plasma TV!

Okay so these things always seem like a scam at first, but I signed up with one of those "sign up for these offers and you get a free **insert fancy electrical goods item**"

From what I've read, if you actually sign up for the offers, which are usually free or no more than £10, you do actually get something. Not always what you thought you were getting, but usually something similar or a cash equivalent.

I guess the real thing that prevents most people completing it is that you have to sign one other person up who also completes all the offers.

The offers I have taken are:

I took out a free DVD trial at blockbusters.co.uk (I could have taken one out at ilovefilm.co.uk too (formerly screenselect) but I've already "done" them). So if you were to do it you could take the free trials with both the DVD companies.

The I took a £10 membership with Jackpotjoy. They claim to add £10 to your account once you make a deposit, but it is a bit of a con, as you can only use it for wagers, and can only withdraw any money, once you have bet 4xs your deposit (i.e. £80). Well I managed to wager £80 (winning and losing fairly evenly) and at one point I was up quite a bit. In the end I lost it all though. Ahhh, the perils of gambling. Steve loses £10! If I were to do it again, I would deposit £10 without accepting the "bonus" £10 and then withdraw my money straight away. Man, blackjack gets addictive!

So I have also signed up to a couple of hotel sites and have to sign up to 2 more services. Not decided which ones yet. The less I have to spend the better. I think there are still some free ones left to choose.

There are a few companies doing these referral programmes. I suppose with the high drop-out rate and the potential for securing longterm customers, they must make enough money to cover the costs of sending out a few TVs and laptops.

You do have to give them your email address, so to avoid opening the spam floodgates, I would advise you use a free online service, such as Yahoo mail

I reckon if three people got together and did "round-robin" referrals with these services, they could get some decent stuff!

Here is my link to sign-up and get a free plasma TV. Help me out and sign up!

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Razorlight - America

Razorlight - America

A British band that have written a song that must surely become one of those classic songs that go on about "America". What is it with our love/hate relationship with the USA? If this was a song about Scotland it wouldn't be cool - it would be a Proclaimers song!

Listen and love, it makes me feel happy and sad at the same time:

(With the dubious legality of having this song on YouTube don't be suprised if the video disappears!)

Cock up!


Tonight I have mostly been drinking wine at the Summertown Wine Cafe with Kate.

Picture is of Josef being himself...

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A conversation at work led to a discussion of the origin of the phrase "cock-up" as in to "mess-up" or make a mistake. The initial assumption was that it was kind of rude!

However some Googling led to this explanation which suggests that it is militaristic, from the meaning of the work "cock" to "tip/angle" as in to "cock a gun or hat".

This lead me to, somehow, find this Burn's poem which I thought was quite funny and apt:

Johnie Lad, Cock Up Your Beaver

When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,
He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown;
But now he has gotten a hat and a feather,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush,
We'll over the border, and gie them a brush;
There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!


A beaver is (apparently) a type of Scottish hat.


Singger snigger, guffaw guffaw!

Monday, 2 October 2006

Get your priorities straight!

I've just cancelled my free trial to Screen Select.

I was going to complain that they obviously treat the free trial people worse than actual subscribers as they had only sent my lowest priority movies (Alien Autopsy, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Jar Heads). However, I've just realised that priority level "1" is the one you most want to see and "3" is the lowest. It only explains that very clearly at the top of the page.

I guess I will have to wait to see The Libertine, Munich and Hostel. :S

What an idiot!

On the other hand it is a bit sneaky that they give you 21 days for this 5/6 free disc trial, when it is virtually impossible to rent all 5 or 6 DVDs, 1 at a time, in that time period. Also I reckon the gits are going to charge me GBP9.99 for one month's subscription as the DVD has to be back tomorrow by the latest and I only sent it today.
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In other breaking news, tonight I was grating parmesan cheese onto Wendy's pasta dish, when the cheese slipped out of my hand so I grated my fingers. Ouch!

I carried my old fridge down three flights of stairs only slightly damaging the concrete steps and worrying Wendy that I was going to kill myself. Probably should have got help.

Finally my nose is sore, swollen, red and looks stupid. Meh.

Top 100 Cartoons - Nonsense!

Channel 4 did another one of those "Top 100" programmes last night - the Top 100 Cartoons. I only watched the first 20 or so, but the listing was dominated by American cartoons, lots of which began in the 1950s.

Looking at the results list, there were very few of the classics that I mentioned in my last post - the 1980s treasures such as Ulysses 31!

So to address this oversight here are a couple more of my favourites:

Pole Position!


Mysterious Cities of Gold!

Sunday, 1 October 2006

No Embrace

Was meant to be going to see Embrace play at Oxford Brookes with Kate tonight, but the gig has been cancelled because one of the band members is ill. Now I assumed that would mean it was the lead singer that was ill. I mean if the drummer or bassist is ill, you just replace him with some session musician who know the songs right? I mean no-one recognises drummers and bassists anyway.

Well that's completely wrong, because it's Embrace's bassist that is ill!

Haven't done much this weekend except work on the new version of the t-shirt website (link to current version), which to be honest is boring me to tears. I can't wait to finish it and get on with selling some more of them.

Did have a pretty good night out on Friday night at the Zodiac with friends from work. Hoorah for pay day!


Were the 1980s the peak of televisual excellence? Reminisce at Retro Junk. How many times have you had the Do you remember this cartoon? conversation. Possibly one of the best conversation topics around - never gets boring!

I can't embed the videos from there, so here is one from YouTube...

Ulysees 31. I loved this cartoon so much!



I'm going to post up the intros to my favourite cartoons over the next few weeks.

Nostalgia rocks! :D

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Bye bye Kev!

The weekend past was Kev's farewell tour. The dates on this tour were:

Wednesday/Thursday: Peterborough
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: London
Sunday/Monday/Tuesday: Oxford

Supporting Kev on his tour were, Gary and Jodie, Matt and Alison, and myself and Wendy.

Was good to see everyone together, but for me the weekend was somewhat ruined by feeling really ill with a sore throat. I ended up taking Monday off work and still feel a bit rubbish even now. I don't think I've ever taken so many painkillers in one week!

Seemed like loads of pics were taken, but of the ones that Kev put on my computer, none were of the main act himself! Oops. I was going to make some kind of edited movie with the video clips, but they are all in the Apple MOV format so I can't use them! Arse!

Seeing as I can't make a video, I shall post the intro to "The Littlest Hobo":



We took things a bit easy in Oxford. As I was ill I sent Kev out on his own to explore. Was a bit wierd saying bye to him. Everybody else did a proper bye in London - i.e. they actually left.

I did a bye and then went into the next room - because Kev was actually leaving the next morning. Then I came back through because I forgot some stuff.

Then I went to bed and Kev was still in the flat and we had said our goodbyes!

But I would see the Hamill-monster again sooner than I expected.

The next day I get a call when I am at work...

me: "You alright Kev?"
Kev: "Umm, no, someone seems to have locked the door and I am trapped and need to catch the train to the airport."
Me thinks, gosh, who could this someone be? I wonder if Kev could jump from the balcony? "Oh crap, sorry, I'll be there in 15min"

So I jump on the motorbike and rush home to let him in. Poor ickle Kev is standing at the door with his Padington bear suitcase and jar of marmolade ready to leave. I presume he made it but not sure because his mobile is bust. Maybe he is still in Birmingham Airport reading a book?

Soon as I got to work there I got a phone call from Hotpoint who were trying to deliver a fridge to my flat. They were actually outside the door where i had just been 20min ago. They were supposed to phone me before delivering the fridge. I guess they don't expect people with jobs to actually buy stuff. Why do all these stupid delivery firms not leave the 1970s and start delivering when people are actually in? There's not always a 'housewife' at home these days!

Anyway, Kev goes to Chicago next Tuesday. I will miss him when I go back up to Dundee for my visits. I hope I have persuaded him to get a webcam so we can taunt each other and play online games. I also think he has some reading to do which will enhance his time in Chicago.

Bye buddy! The UK won't be the same without you.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Bare Naked Laddies

Taken from Kev's MySpace profile - Kev, Matt and Gary made this great video to a Barenaked Ladies song. Kev's going to do a post-doc in Chicago soon. Boooo! But now I have someone I can visit in Chicago. Hoorah! Every cloud...

Get this video and more at MySpace.com

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Dances with Treadmills

I'm sure most have seen this video by now, but it's so cool I wanted to put it up anyway. The song is pretty decent too...

It's OK Go!

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

DVD Month

Due to the current high price of oil, unrest in the Middle East, the strength of the pound vs the dollar and me buying a GPS unit last month, I am currently a bit broke. My economic forecasting skills indicate that by the end of the month I will have even less money than I have now. Helpfully, once my bank account reaches £0.00 (which it will do when I have spent another 2715p), the bank begins to top-up my account with the nice negative money. It's like normal money, but it's negatively charged - like electrons. Like electrons, negative money can give you a shock if you get too many of them at once. They also make you sweat. And annoyed. And boring.

That's why the rest of September is DVD month!

I've taken up the free intro offer with Screenselect.co.uk, whereby you get 6 DVDs for 21 days for FREE. The normal intro offer is 5 DVDs, but if you enter the promotional code freedvds you get 6. Those posters at the urinals in the cinema do educate you...

I've done these free online DVD service intro offers before. I've probably used Screenselect before, but if they want to give me DVDs for free that is fine. There are a few more of these services and they usually give free intro periods. If the price of oil stays high, I might have to 'try out' another service.

Downside is that I feel a bit guilty for (temporarily) abandoning my lovely local indepedent video shop. Least I can do is give them a link: Video and DVD Hire in Oxford.

I may also have some DVD reviews to blog. How riveting. Bring on the electrons.

Monday, 11 September 2006

Afro

 

This is why I have to put wax in my hair every morning!

Last night we went to the Doll's House Restaurant in St Andrews for Dad's 60th birthday meal. It was quite a decent meal overall - I had poached salmon with lobster and prawn sauce. Would have been better if the prawns had been cooked through. Some were still cold in the middle.

Got a ride home to Dundee in Uncle Brian's new car - the Jaguar XK. Absolutely stunning car! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 10 September 2006

BROS

 

When will I, will I be famous? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Traveling without moving

It's a bit annoying that despite moving north of London (to Oxford), it now takes me longer to travel home to Dundee.

Yesterday I left work at about 3pm and eventually got home at about 10.30pm. At least 7.5h traveling!

Leaving work at 3pm I rode my bike back to the flat, then quickly packed and got a bus into town. I then walked to the train station to catch the 4.30pm train to Birmingham International.

There's something wrong with catching a train that going to eventually terminate in Edinburgh, with the intention of getting off in Birmingham and flying to Edinburgh. It's a pretty rubbish journey that train takes to Edinburgh though - it goes via Glasgow. Looking at the train timetable it would have got me into Edinburgh at 10.30pm - 1.5h after my flight was scheduled to get into Edinburgh. As it was my flight was 30min delayed, but as it was getting off the train and hanging around in Birmingham airport still got me into Edinburgh faster than the train I had got off. It's probably also much cheaper to do it this way as the UK trains are a rip-off.

The problem with flying anywhere in the UK is the trains. You consider you have to me at your flight 1.5-2h before departure to check-in. Of course there is no way you can rely on the trains to get you there on time because they are so reliably unreliable, so you have to add an hour 'just in case' here, and another hour there. Before you you know it you'd be faster cycling home. Even without a saddle.

I suppose I should go plant a tree to make up for the carbon costs of flying to Edinburgh instead of staying on the train. Well the plane would have gone there with or without me so what's the difference?

Actually I was thinking of chopping down a random tree today, but to atone for my flight I will refrain from doing that. Wow - I'm an environmentalist! Seems funny that word has 'mentalist' in it... What sort of mentalist are you? I'm an environmentalist.

Today's plan in Dundee: Walk doggies with family. Later - go binge drinking.

Tomorrow: Recover. Possibly cook eggs benedict for family.

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

An upside-down camper van...




...was what I saw on the Peartree round-about on the way home from work today. Looked like some kind of accident involving 2-3 cars, the camper van and a huge lorry. I don't think anyone was hurt.

I did consider stopping and asking if anyone needed a doctor, but the chances of anyone being interested in the genetics of the humble fission yeast at a time like that are fairly slim.

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Steve endorses... Rugby Shirts!


I like to link to places and products that I like, particularly if they are personal friends. Today I would like to direct your attention to the Rugby Plus website. They started out with a shop in Dundee and I started work in there pretty soon after it opened while I was a student. With the staff discount I was able to clad myself head to toe in Canterbury rugby gear. They're doing pretty well, with a new store in Stirling and one opening soon (or has just opened) in Aberdeen. I believe they deliver worldwide

I bought my Scotland rugby shirt in there. If they weren't using frames I would link to the actual product. The website is perfectly navigable but I think it could do with a re-vamp...

So "hi" to Dave and Cathy if you ever google the shop and find your way here!

Of course if it's cool phonetic and foreign phrase t-shirts you're looking for then I would remind you of my wee t-shirt site... ;)

Dr. Peter Rost: PARTY INVITATION

Bloggers are apparently invited to Dr Peter Rost's 'blog party'. I'm not exactly sure what it will be or if it will be fun. It's next Sunday at 11am EST which I think is about 4pm GMT. I could be wrong about the time - I usually get conversions wrong so I may be an hour early or late.

Dr. Peter Rost: PARTY INVITATION

Who is Peter Rost? He is a Swedish dude ex-of Pfizer. It's one of the few blogs I regularly read. Finally, seeing as I suggested it: Peter Rost's email...

Friday, 1 September 2006

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Reading Festival 2006


Went to the Reading Festival yesterday (just for the day).

The weather was forecast to be wet, but it was actually quite hot. Started raining in the evening, so I was happy to put on the waterproofs. Wish it had rained heavier. There's something satisfying about being completely dry when it's pi$$ing it down!

I wore my old CAT boots. They must be nearly 10 years old now. I think their grips still qualify as 4WD, but I might have to check with Dad.

I'll rate the bands I saw in terms of 'grips quality' of various popular types of shoes:

Fightstar: Oh dear. The new band of 'Charlie from Busted'. Apparently getting that much crap thrown at you is not a sign of appreciation. Not my cup of tea I'm afraid vicar.
Shoe comparison: My Little Pony welly boots.


Design Cape. Make Cape. Eat Cape. Cry.
: Don't really remember much about them. They were fine. I really wanted to see them because I had noticed they played in Oxford recently.
Shoe comparison: Some school shoes I can't remember that probably had adequate grips.

Fall Out Boy: I really only know these guys through 'their' videos on YouTube (see previous post). I felt some twangs of Emo angst during their songs. There was alot of jumping up and down and moshing. We were beside one mosh pit. Was pretty funny when Spider Man got chucked in. At that very moment his Spider-powers left him and he ripped off his mask in panic - thus revealing his identity (an angry teenager). Then there was a 'circle mosh' which FOB organised all over the crowd. That was fun too. Moshing looks kinda fun, but the people doing it look like morons. Rahhh - look at me I'm so an-gry, I must push people about to show my teenage rage and demonstrate my relative state of depression. My parents don't understand me! Life is, like, sooooo unfair. Feel the power of my moshing rath fellow misunderstood children! Rahhhhh! They also cleverly got the crowd to throw stuff at each other which was quite a sight to see. Incoming!! Bottles quite hurt when they hit you bottle cap end first...
Shoe comparison: Adventure sandals (e.g. Merrell).

Belle and Sebastian: One of those bands I've always had to pretend I like because they've won music prizes and are 'cool' (and Scottish). Never really listened to any of their albums properly and the only reason I know the 'Boy with the Arab Strap' song is from the theme tune to the TV program 'Teachers'. That said they were very good. We were right up at the front for them. The lead singer guy did some nice interaction with the crowd. There best song is still BWTAS - I have it stuck in my head now. Must listen to the albums properly now so I can actually remember more than one song.
Shoe comparison: Timberland Boots.

The Vines: Didn't really give them a chance. We were right at the back, waiting to go see the next band. Left early.
Shoe comparison: Ninja plimsoles. No grips as such but very grippy due to their special ninja properties.


Kaiser Chiefs
: Yah! I know all the songs! What fun! Nicely entertaining. Very solid performance. They played one or two songs from their new album.
Shoe comparison: Merrel trainers.

Franz Ferdinand: I wasn't expecting them to be that great live to be honest but I was blown away by them. Their songs go down really well and quite easily fill the park and get everyone going. I forget how 'rocky' their songs can be. However, I think they played too long and the last half hour was a bit dull until they played 'This Fire'. Bonus points for the impressive stage and light show.
Shoe comparison: CAT boots. Yeah baby!

I think my band reviews are getting better. Still waiting for that call from NME.

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Dancing abroad

I'm off to Reading Festival tomorrow, where I will see bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and the mighty Fall Out Boy. The main reason I like Fall Out Boy, is that loads of people make 'taking the pi$$' videos for their songs that mock the singer's poor diction (I'd like to think they are making a stand about the decline in the way the English language is spoken, but it's more likely they want to be YouTube heros). So from Fall Out Boy, here is 'Dance Dance', 'Where is Your Boy Tonight' and, my favourite, 'Sugar We're Going Down'. **WARNING** None of the videos are particuarly unsafe for work, but I wouldn't watch them if you work in a place such as a nunnery for politically correct nuns who worship St Hilda the PC, the patron saint of PC. I think you might have to be a member to watch one of the videos, but at least one of them will open normally.

For some much more mellow fun, here is a nice embedded video. It's called 'Where the Hell is Matt' and is this guy who (with some minty sponsorship) went around the world dancing in places. I can imagine Kev doing this. Perhaps he could go round the world dancing, but for a unique twist, could do robot dancing instead!

I wouldn't watch the video without the soundtrack, and I wouldn't listen to the music without the video, but together they make a strangely beautiful video that I watched straight through first time (an achievement for my 15s attention span). It's also educational - the South Shetland Islands are not, in fact, Scottish.

Worth watching in that few minutes (read 20min) when you get back from lunch, but you aren't quite ready to start work again yet.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

That great Bergkamp goal

Dennis Bergkamp retired from Arsenal the other day, so there were various programmes on about him and his greatest goals. I was talking to someone about 'that great goal' but it is impossible to describe, so I have found it on YouTube. Internet video doesn't really do it justice.

I can't really remember who it was I was talking to about it... could have been Andy, or Greg... not sure. I seem to remember that the person later thought I was talking about Freddie Ljungberg. Well I guess they're both 'bergs, so that's fair enough. Maybe it was Wendy I was talking to. Or could be Greg - he doesn't know much about football. Ah..... Wendy has just come into the room (censored - I should not blog when drunk. Me bad...) and tells me it was actually Keno. Well he never reads this blog so fat lot of use it is putting it up here for him to see. Ho-hum it's a decent video anyway.

Anyway here it is:

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Rina en Oxford


The last post about paintball was a bit of a long one, so here is a short post about Rina visiting this weekend.

She visited. We ate and drank last night. Today we went to visit Christ Church college. £4.70 to get in! They've certainly decided to cash in on their new-found Harry Potter fame!

Well we walked around and it was very nice. Went into the main hall, where they filmed some of the great hall scenes from Harry Potter. Rina was very excited and wanted to pretend to be Hermione. I recognised the stairs to the hall from the film, but opted not to pretend to be Miss McGonagall.

Paintballing again

Went paintballing with people from work yesterday.

Seeing as I went just a few weeks ago to a different centre, this gives me the opportunity to compare them.

Yesterday we went to HotShots, near Upper Bucklebury. The previous time we went to Delta Force.

In terms of organisation, facilities, equipment and professionalism them was no comparison.

Delta Force was better in terms of:

Facilities: Their 'HQ' was so much better. The Hotshots toilet was a rubbish little portaloo that look like it had been rejected from Glastonbury for being too minging. Delta Force had a permanent building with separate gents and ladies. Maybe an idea if you want to have more of the fairer sex along.

When it came to lunch, Delta Force gave us a pretty nice BBQ. Hotshots ordered in loads of Dominos pizzas. Now I'm not saying I don't like Domino's pizza, but I got the impression it was because they couldn't be bothered doing a proper BBQ.

DeltaForce had a 'goggle cleaning station'. At HotsShots it was a case of running around trying to find the one spray bottle and some clean paper.

DeltaForce had lots of free drinking water and tea/coffee. HotShots had some bottles of juice that vanished pretty quickly.

Organisation: When I arrived at HotShots it was a case of hanging around trying to work out what to do, then a kind of mad rush to get some equipment. The fact they only had 2, XXL overall suits was a bit annoying. Like big guys don't like paintball eh? We had ordered a package that included grenades, but they had no grenades available. Admittedly the gave us 50 paintballs instead, but if you're going to say you give grenades then maybe you should...

Equipment: DeltaForce equipment was just better. End of. Guns - I don't know if they were technically better, but they were shiny, looked newer and had two handles, which matters to the lay person. Especially the shiny bit. They had loads of grenades. Their ammo packs had good fresh velcro (most of them). With the HotShots stuff I actually lost ammo in a game because the velcro wouldn't stick! They were nice enough to replace my lost paintballs though. DeltaForce supply all players with full head protection and their masks look much newer. The HotShots stuff is probably more standard but is inferior to the DeltaForce stuff.

professionalism: Now I'm not saying the HotShots guys were unprofessional, but they did kind of give the impression of being a bunch of lads who were leasing the centre out or something and running it for a 'larf'. I was very impressed with the DeltaForce professionalism and the way they drilled in the safety rules. i.e. if they see you without Goggles on in the game you are out for the rest of the day. At HotShots there were people going about with Goggles off as they stood at the side of the game.

The HotsShots safety talk seemed more like they were only doing it because they were obliged too. During the safety brief the HotShots guy was 'demonstrating' the guns, so had a paintball gun in the 'safe' area firing and was firing it against a lorry to show us how it worked. Then as he talked he was waving the gun barrel in front of us all. It was pretty stupid and unprofessional and everyone was kind of looking at each other thinking, "wtf?" with nervous laughter going around. There's no way the DeltaForce guy would have done that.

DeltaForce marshals seemed a bit more with it. They wore recognisable clothing so you could see them all the time, and they were always on hand to help if you had a gun jam or anything.

Anyway, organisation and professionalism isn't why you go paintballing - it's all about the fun in the games.

However, I think I had more fun at DeltaForce. There were about 25 on each team yesterday. A lot of the game areas were too narrow for that many people. There was the usual 'get the flag' type games, but it's a telling sign that nearly every game at HotShots ended in a stalemate, whereas every game at DeltaForce was won by someone. Also, the DeltaForce people kept track of the scores between the teams, with HotShots I didn't really have a clue what was going on.

I must admit I think I had my 'best ever' game of Paintball yesterday. It was a 'defend the castle' game and I got into a great defensive position where I was able to shoot about 5 or 6 people, before someone got an accurate shot through the walls!

Enjoyment wasn't helped by an incredibly heavy downpour that completely soaked everyone. It was so uncomfortable and made us think about how bad it must have been to be a real soldier in the trenches soaked for weeks at a time, with something more serious than paintball to worry about!

Overall I did have a fun day. It's hard not to with paintball! However, I don't think I would return to HotShots. DeltaForce I would go to again, but there are so many different paintball centres between here and London that it's worth trying them all.

Disclaimer: All this rubbish is my opinion only. I have no affiliation to any paintball centre.

The only reason I've blogged this and gone into so much detail is because there was so much difference in terms of quality between the two centres. I suspect Delta Force may be especially good and professional and HotShots more the norm, although I've been to a few other centres in England and I'd say they fall inbetween the two.